GNYHA Highlights Models to Address Food Insecurity and Food Access

May 6, 2019

GNYHA continued its Social Determinants of Health Learning Series with an event highlighting partnerships and programs between hospitals and community-based organizations (CBOs) that help patients meet basic food-related needs.

Kim Prendergast delivers the Keynote address

Kim Prendergast of Feeding America, a national nonprofit hunger-relief organization, delivered the keynote address and shared data demonstrating food insecurity’s impact on health and chronic disease outcomes. She discussed Feeding America’s Health + Hunger initiative, which screens and connects patients to food programs, helping to bridge the gap between health care providers and CBOs. Ms. Prendergast encouraged hospitals to connect to CBOs providing food-related services, and noted that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits—formerly known as food stamps—reduce food insecurity by 20-30%.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSKCC) Francesca Gany, MD, described the Food to Overcome Outcome Disparities (FOOD) program, which includes food pantries at four MSKCC sites and five New York City Health + Hospitals cancer care sites. The program serves up to 150 patients per week, helping to alleviate hunger while improving outcomes for patients undergoing cancer treatment. Based on FOOD program screening data, 61% of the facilities’ cancer patients are food insecure, and food insecurity can worsen for patients experiencing increased financial burdens associated with cancer treatment.

The Food and Nutrition Services Bundle, a program that coordinates food and nutrition services through a single intake system for families and individuals residing in the Bronx, was the topic of a panel discussion featuring representatives from Public Health Solutions, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, God’s Love We Deliver, and Healthfirst. The program has screened more than 600 patients since launching last November and alleviated many of their medical and social issues. The partners are working on quantifying the impact of the program’s interventions on health outcomes.

Materials from the program are available here. GNYHA will continue the Social Determinants of Health Learning Series this summer.